Clutch interview (Neil Fallon)

"Rock and roll is perhaps a victim of its own success"

26/03/2013 @ 13:28
Few days ago, Clutch released one of the best records for 2013 which is also a benchmark for their career so far. "Earth Rocker" is as earthly as their frontman, Neil Fallon, who was willing -in the middle of a tour- to answer some of our questions, creating at the same time some new ones. I should better go now in order to discover "Electric Worry"'s hidden underground nature. Reverend, the word is yours...

ClutchGood evening dear sir. On tour again, so is everything going as hoped so far?
Hi there! The tour has been going great. Really good turnouts and all the bands, Orange Goblin, Lionize, and Scorpion Child are killers.

After 23 years and 10 studio albums you released one of the best records of your career. How proud do you feel about "Earth Rocker"?
We are all really proud of this record. We put a lot of time and focus into it. After 20 plus years it is easy to get into too much of a comfort zone. We really made it a point to push ourselves on this one.

What makes you keep on going? Is it your love for music? Is it the need to communicate and share your new work each time with the people on stage?
I think our collective love for playing rock and roll is what had glued us together.  There's been good times and bad times, labels have come and gone.  But one constant has been the music. It's brought us to places we never could have imagined and it's got us through tough times as well.

Clutch - Earth Rocker"Earth Rocker" gave me the impression you were the whole 44 minutes next to me, playing live. Is it as easy as someone can hear, to capture the live vibe on a studio record?
Machine did a killer job doing that just. Before we recorded the album he asked us what kind of set list we might play at a festival. We wrote one up and he listened to those songs. He then used that as a template for the song writing process. The irony is, it was the least "live" recording process we've done. We weren't in the studio together. I didn't even see JP until after the record was finished. But we could pull it off because we did loads of pre-production and knew EXACTLY what we had to play when we hit record.

"1000 Les Pauls burning in a field, 1000 Jazz masters thrown into the sea". Who stole our rock and roll at the first time Mr. Fallon before its righteous come back?
Perhaps it's a victim of its own success. I have a romantic nostalgia for those times when Rock & Roll was the greatest threat to western civilization since the Mongol invasions. Nowadays, you hear rock and roll (and the images associated with it) in the background for credit card commercials. In some ways it's become so prevalent, so accessible, that it's easy to take it for granted. But the older I get, the more I treasure it.

ClutchBack in 1848, Stephen Foster wrote "Oh! Susanna". Is it safe to assume that yours "Oh, Isabella" is a tribute to the -so called- father of American music?
Woah!  I hadn't even thought of that!  But that's what I'm going to start telling people my intentions were!

That one ("Oh, Isabella") along with "The Wolf Man Kindly Requests..." ending, are like twin brothers and by far the most interesting couple in any of your records. Are you planning to play them together as well?
We plan to play all the songs. We haven't played Oh, Isabella yet, but we have been playing Wolfman for over a year now.

ClutchI consider "The Face" as the "Let There Be Rock" of my generation and my personal favorite from this album. Which song from "Earth Rocker" is your most beloved?
That's hard to say. It's like picking a favorite child. I do like "Gone Cold" as it's so different from the rest of the tunes.

This is the second album that's been released from your record company. What lead you at the first time to create Weathermaker Music?
In this day and age, I believe an artist would be foolish not to sell directly to their fans if they had the opportunity.  Sure, file sharing really deflated the music industry, but the internet also allows bands like Clutch, who aren't going to appeal to everyone, to find that niche audience.  Selling directly to the fans allows the artist to cut out loads of middlemen and keep the prices down, too.

Neil Fallon (Clutch)Are there any thoughts to sign other bands besides the related ones to Clutch they already exist?
We have done a few side projects, The Bakerton Group, The Company Band, and The Mob. Those are bands associated with Clutch. We haven't signed any bands not affiliated with us in some way. A few years ago we would swear that we would never sign anything other than associated bands because we don't want to be the bad guys. But if we are realistic and honest maybe we could pull off.

You have been for 20 years in the band, seen and heard many things. Do you feel repressed for something you haven't accomplished so far?
The main thing that we look forward to is going to new places. We would like to go to South America & Asia.

ClutchClutch is a very solid band considering the line up. Is it the alpha and the omega for a successful career?
It makes it easier when we know each other as well as we do. There's no guesswork. Another thing that helped us out is Clutch never had a huge hit (!). A smash hit is a surefire way for a band to break up. Once you get used to some level of success, it's hard to live with anything less than that. Clutch's career is successful, but it's been a marathon, not a sprint.

ClutchIn case your son decides to become musician with his own band just like his dad, what would you advise him NOT to do?
Don't treat music as a means to any other end. It's not a path to fame or fortune. Music is its own reward.

We will see you again in a couple of months and be sure it's gonna be a sold out event. We can handle seeing you for the next 20 years (as you said the last time you were in Greece), so the question can handle us?
Bring it!

I really appreciate your time dear sir, hoping everything goes more than well by the time you visit us.
Τhank you! Greece has really exploded for Clutch over the last few years and we look forward to coming back as often as we can!